After nearly five months of campaigning for their chance in office, newly elected student body president and vice president Eli Schooley and Jake Unruh have finally reached their goal of representing the campus population. Schooley, senior in political science, and Unruh, junior in finance, garnered 60 percent of the votes in the general election Wednesday evening. But now that the results are official, what’s next?
Schooley said that revisiting the platform decisions they’ve already made in an effort to distinguish the best course of action is essential in planning the upcoming year.
“I think one of our first priorities is to meet with a lot of the people again that the platforms are going to be affecting,” Schooley said.
The pair initially prepared their platform by researching student needs and meeting with campus administrators, like Steve Dandaneau, vice provost for undergraduate studies, and Jana Fallin, interim director of the Center for Advancement of Teaching and Learning. By discussing their ideas with both faculty and students, Schooley and Unruh were able to ensure that their goals would not only benefit the K-State campus, but that they were realistic as well.
“Finding things that we could actually do was really important to us,” Unruh said. “I think that these are three things that we both care about.”
The newly-elected president and vice president believe that their platform was popular with the student population not only because they combined multiple cohesive elements into three attainable objectives, but also because it has the potential to benefit virtually every student at K-State.
“I think that every student, no matter how involved they are, what their living arrangements look like or what their situation is as a K-Stater, our platforms are something they can use,” said Unruh. “They aren’t exclusive to anybody and they’re very accessible to everybody.”
One of the first changes that students will notice is Schooley and Unruh’s goal to increase mobility by boosting wireless Internet access on campus, improving student Webmail services, installing charging stations for computers and cell phones on campus and developing a more efficient K-State mobile app. Many of these changes are already in the works, and the pair plans to continue overseeing development of the projects during their first weeks in office.
Theo Stavropoulos, senior in management, has been involved in assisting the team in developing their mobility goals through his experience on the Student Technology Committee in student government. While details for the project still lack definition, he hopes to see a mobile app that provides both Webmail and K-State Online services for students on the go.
“We’re really advocating for as comprehensive of an app as possible,” Stavropoulos said. “We want it to be as much of a one-stop shop for your K-State information as possible.”
Schooley also added that while he thinks the basic students needs of iSIS, KSOL, and Webmail should be met on the app, he would love to eventually see further developments on the app’s capabilities. These would include options to purchase athletic passes or check parking availability via mobile devices.
Unruh maintains that one of the reasons they hope to implement the mobility portion of their platform so quickly is that many of the issues at hand are existing entities that just need a little improvement, such as dead areas for wi-fi on campus and a sometimes faulty e-mail service.
“It’s not necessarily about things that we want to create, but more about taking things that we already have and making it better,” Unruh said.
Another important aspect of the Schooley-Unruh campaign focused on their platform of empowering relationships between students and professionals. By expanding the mentorship program that has been successfully used in the College of Business Administration, Schooley and Unruh hope to implement a similar, campus-wide program to help current students network with future employers and established individuals in their career field.
Schooley said this was an issue that he relates to personally, and believes it will have a positive impact on much of the student population.
“I started off as a pre-med student, and I remember being constantly worried about having a doctor to shadow and having to find those people on my own,” said Schooley. “Now, as a pre-law student, since I’ll be here this summer, I’ve thought about how I’d like to help out at a law firm here in Manhattan. That’s just kind of an example of how, if we had a campus-wide mentorship program, those opportunities would be more official and easier to come by for students.”
The final element of the duo’s campaign, enriching experience through the TEVAL system, is a part of platform that Schooley and Unruh hope to have in the works before the end of the semester. They intend to do this by passing a bill to establish what Schooley referred to as a “student-led task force” to make TEVALs more efficient.
This task force, Schooley said, will ideally be half students and half faculty with representation from every college on campus to ensure a wide variety of needs are met.
“The task force will look at specific things, like the wording of questions on TEVALs, to make sure that they are getting at what students are able to give feedback for and what teachers are more apt to value,” Schooley said.
The pair also distinguished that the new system will not necessarily be a way to post unflattering comments about professors online, but rather a means to assist students in deciding on classes that are taught by multiple professors.
“It’s not if it’s a good teacher or a bad teacher, but more what their teaching style is like and the modes of transportation they use for learning,” Unruh said. “We want a better-communicated TEVAL system that faculty can use to improve upon and create a better classroom experience. Better teaching creates better students and ultimately a better university.”
Schooley and Unruh will use various methods of compiling student input throughout their term in office, not only by using campus-wide surveys, but also by approaching leaders of various organizations on campus to figure out exactly what it is that students want to see accomplished. While they plan to continue using professional input throughout their term in office, the pair maintains that catering to the desires of the student population is their ultimate goal as student body president and vice president.
“We really do rely on what professionals are saying,” Unruh said. “It’s about using those professionals to help formulate our plans and then putting a student perspective on them.”